The Manhattan Project

OCanFilmFest2020 Ottawa Canadian Film Festival

When a small-town cocktail-enthusiast decides to end his life after being diagnosed with a terminal illness he must deal with the repercussion his choice has on his community.

Matthew Campanile

Matthew Campanile, director

Born in Toronto, Ontario, Matthew holds a degree in Film Studies at Ryerson University. His work to date has been in short films, and his first feature film debuted in 2019.

Matthew Campanile answered a few questions.

What inspired your film?

A friend called me and said his father just said the funniest thing: he said he tried a manhattan for the first time and that if he were to ever got too old or sick to live the way he liked, he’d sit out on the frozen lake and drink manhattans until he froze to death.

What was your biggest challenge in making your film?

The biggest challenge was shooting in the cold. It was unusually cold that year, and we had scenes where the main character Bob, played by Terry Novak, had to be in minus 40 temperatures with a summer shirt on! Thanks Terry!

What was the best part of the experience for you?

Watching the characters come to life, first through the casting, then the shooting and editing — it’s a surreal experience seeing these imagined beings start walking and talking!

What advice would you give aspiring filmmakers?

Start thinking in terms of years. When I was starting I thought films were made in feverish sprints over a few weeks. I was afraid of losing the spark. But films are mammoth undertakings, and take a lot of stamina. Spend a year writing, then a year producing it, then a year editing it. Even if you have other things going on, other jobs, surely within a year you can find some time to complete a stage in the process. Do it a little bit each day and it’ll build up into something real.

What’s next for you?

Several project in various stages of development.